Top 100 Events in the United States 2018

The music festivals, trade shows, conferences, and other gatherings in the U.S. that set the standard for the event industry.

National #1 Sports Event The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 to win Super Bowl LII, which took place at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Justin Timberlake headlined the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show, where he performed a medley of his songs as well as a tribute to hometown legend Prince. Brands including DirecTV, Playboy, and Maxim held major events during the weekend, but ESPN opted out for the first time in more than a decade to focus on its College Football Playoff presence. The game averaged 103.4 million viewers, making it the least-watched Super Bowl since 2009. Next year’s game will take place in Atlanta. Next: February 3, 2019
National
#1 Sports Event
The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 to win Super Bowl LII, which took place at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Justin Timberlake headlined the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show, where he performed a medley of his songs as well as a tribute to hometown legend Prince. Brands including DirecTV, Playboy, and Maxim held major events during the weekend, but ESPN opted out for the first time in more than a decade to focus on its College Football Playoff presence. The game averaged 103.4 million viewers, making it the least-watched Super Bowl since 2009. Next year’s game will take place in Atlanta. Next: February 3, 2019
Photo: Lorie Shaull

No matter the industry, organizers of annual events usually try to wow attendees year after year—whether it is a change of event format, new partnerships and sponsor activations, or high-profile performers and speakers. The list of top 100 events in the United States this year shows how organizers both succeeded and failed to do this for events that have already proven to be the most notable in the country.

Mainstays on the list include Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Art Basel Miami Beach, C.E.S., and New York Fashion Week, while newcomers include the progressive political Netroots Nation Conference, Outside Lands music festival, and the post-Oscars Elton John AIDS Foundation fund-raiser. 

Many events in the past year were linked together by common threads. The Weeknd and Janet Jackson headlined multiple major music festivals this spring and summer; entertainment, business, and financial industry events addressed—and were directly affected by—the #MeToo movement bringing public awareness to the battle against sexual assault and harassment; and the food industry addressed diversity and harassment through new programming and awards at festivals and ceremonies. Major events were also given exposure through pop culture, with Essence Festival and the Met Gala being major backdrops for the popular films Girls Trip and Ocean’s 8, respectively. 

To choose and rank the annual events, factors including attendance, buzz, innovation, economic impact, and major changes were considered, as well as the event’s importance in its specific market.

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